Chemical Industry Attack -- A Response
BILL MOYERS RESPONDS TO CHEMICAL INDUSTRY ATTACK
ON INVESTIGATIVE REPORT BASED ON CONFIDENTIAL INDUSTRY DOCUMENTS
TRADE SECRETS premieres on PBS on March 26,2001- from 9- 11 p.m.
TRADE SECRETS: A Moyers Report is a two-hour program that lays
out an historical record of chemical industry behavior and devotes 30
minutes, 25% of the broadcast, to a panel discussion of issues such as
what scientists know about the health effects of chemicals, how fully
chemicals are tested before they come to market, worker safety and
whether the public is fully informed about chemicals and their impact
on personal health.
The portion of the program that lays out the historical record is based
on the industry’s own words, preserved in black and white in confidential
industry documents that the public was never supposed to see.
The panel discussion, which will be produced live-to-tape the afternoon
of the program premiere, includes two representatives of the chemical
industry, a representative of the public health sector, and a represen-
tative of an environmental organization.
The chemical industry’s trade association, the American Chemistry Council,
has begun a campaign to discredit TRADE SECRETS before it is broadcast
by attacking Bill Moyers’ professionalism as a journalist and the balance,
accuracy and fairness of the program.
Following is a statement by Bill Moyers to industry attacks, as well as a
Q & A rebuttal to issues the chemical industry has raised in the media:
Statement by Bill Moyers
"As usual, the chemical industry is misleading the American people and
the press. The American Chemistry Council has known that we designed
the broadcast to include industry representatives. Weeks ago we even
provided the industry with the very questions to be discussed on the
broadcast. When Terry Yosie, the industry spokesman, told me that
the industry wants to address issues of worker and product safety and
the benefits to society of chemicals, I agreed. Mr. Yosie won't tell you
that, because Mr. Yosie is trying to defend the industry against the
indefensible record in its own documents.
I consider myself in good company to be attacked by the industry
that tried to smear Rachel Carson when she published Silent Spring.
As its own documents reveal, this is the industry that kept from its
workers the truth about what was making them sick; that opposes
the right of citizens to know what is polluting their communities;
that manipulated its own science to hide the hazards of chemicals;
that spent millions of dollars to buy political influence, carve
loopholes in environmental law, and create a regulatory system
that it controls. The people who watch TRADE SECRETS will
decide for themselves who is guilty of malpractice."
Q & A about TRADE SECRETS
Q. Why didn’t Bill Moyers interview representatives of the
chemical industry for TRADE SECRETS?
· He does include industry representatives, in a format that
gives them an unedited opportunity to present their point of view.
Half an hour, which is 25% of the program, is devoted to a discussion
of issues raised by facts in the internal industry documents that are
the focus of the first portion of the program.
· This discussion provides equal time to chemical industry
representatives as well as others with differing viewpoints
representing the public health sector and environmental
· In the discussion, the industry is invited to offer opinions on
such issues as their assessment of the present state of regulation,
the scientific basis for their confidence that chemicals absorbed by
human beings have no health consequences in the short term or the
long term, and their plans for the future to ensure that chemicals they
manufacture pose no threat to the public.
Q. Why weren’t industry representatives interviewed for the
documentary portion of the program?
· The documentary portion of this program lays out historical
evidence about the chemical industry contained in their internal
industry documents spanning a period of almost 50 years.
· These internal industry documents are a fact. They exist.
They are not a matter of opinion or a point of view. The documents
state what the industry knew, when they knew it and what they
decided to do.
· In the documentary portion of the program, the chemical
industry is represented by these documents, which describe the
industry’s decisions -- in their own words in black and white and
on paper -- about how they will behave.
· The interviews in this portion of the program focus on
determining if the information contained in the chemical industry’s
documents was revealed at the time to company employees,
governmental regulators, citizens concerned about environmental
pollution, or the general public.
Q. The chemical industry has stated TRADE SECRETS can
not be balanced, accurate or fair because they were not given the
opportunity to present their side of the story.
· We have a different view. Regarding accuracy, every fact in
TRADE SECRETS has been scrupulously sourced. There is no
question of accuracy in the presentation of the documents because
we have made them available for all to see. The viewer doesn’t have
to wonder if excerpts from these internal documents were perhaps
unfairly taken out of context during the program. The full text of
every document referenced in TRADE SECRETS will be available
for all to read on the TRADE SECRETS Web site on PBS.org.
Nothing could be more fair.
· The program is balanced in broadly framing the chemical
industry. The program plainly states that chemicals have improved
many aspects of our contemporary lifestyle. The documentary does
not question the positive aspects of the chemical revolution of the
last fifty years, and acknowledges them.
· As the documents reveal, the chemical industry has invested
millions of dollars trying to dominate public perception as well as the
regulatory process. This program is making information available
to the public that has been deliberately and consciously withheld.
Attacking the journalism in TRADE SECRETS is a strategy to
discredit the content so that their own viewpoint can dominate
Additional information on TRADE SECRETS is available on
PBS PressRoom at pbs.org/pressroom.
safe and healthy products